Truth as Blasphemy

The whole world is crazy…The only reason we’re not locked up in an institution is that there are so many of us. So we’re crazy. We’re living on crazy ideas about love, about relationships, about happiness, about joy, about everything. We’re crazy to the point, I’ve come to believe, that if everybody agrees on something, you can be sure it’s wrong. Every new idea, every great idea, when it first began was in a minority of one. hat man called Jesus Christ — minority of one. Everybody was saying something different from what he was saying. The Buddha — minority of one. Everybody was saying something different from what he was saying. I think it was Bertrand Russell who said, “Every great idea starts out as blasphemy.” That’s well and accurately put.

-Anthony de Mello (Awareness)

Quakerism 101: A Very Basic Introduction with Suggested Readings

IMG_0444.JPG

Earlier this week there was a conversation on Twitter that pointed out two realities that we are seeing a lot within Western (and often more “liberal-Liberal”) Quakerism: a) that Quakerism is viewed primarily in the secular West as non-religious; and b) that even within Quaker meetings there is so little religious education that many do not get anything to help in framing the Quaker tradition differently Quakerism in any way other than a morally-based, secular practice.

As someone said on Twitter today, they always thought of it less as a religion and more of a flavor. This is not an uncommon view among many Quakers. I have witnessed the latter problem within Programmed and Evangelical Quaker meetings as well: the lack of Religious education – as it pertains to understanding and framing the Quaker tradition (history, theology and practice) both as it was understood and how it is made manifest within Quaker meetings today, worldwide.

Therefore, I wanted to offer a short reading list with some basic background to the Quaker tradition here in hopes of helping those who are getting started out and want to know more about the history, beliefs, and practice of the Religious Society of Friends. I hope that this list can be of use in folks’ quest to make their understanding and practice of Quakerism more rich, more full, and more critical. I believe that there is a push to make us lose our robust religious language in favor of a very safe religious language that will not challenge the imperial powers, that will not challenge the ego of self, that will not lay us open before Love or call truth to power. We have much to learn from and grow into. I hope what is offered can help give you but a taste.

Continue reading Quakerism 101: A Very Basic Introduction with Suggested Readings

Code Switch it President Obama’s Legacy

Code switch is a podcast about race in America with some really incredible hosts. It’s worth subscribing and listening to, but this last episode where the begin a three-part series of looking at President Obama’s legacy as president, especially in regards to race and how that plays into the challenges he faced, is really on point. I can’t recommend it enough:

Moving Into Interfaith Leadership

978-080703362-3I recently read Eboo Patel’s new book, Interfaith Leadership: A Primer (2016). I’d recommend it to any student looking to go into the field of interfaith work, or any minister or religious leader trying to find ways to reorient their spiritual work in this changing religious landscape. Patel’s vision is timely and much-needed. Given the growing the misunderstandings between religious groups, the trend towards increased fundamentalism, and the reality that Christendom in the West is crumbling (or already has crumbled?), we need new ways of thinking and practicing religious life together. Patel’s book is wonderfully practical, and backed up with theory throughout that will provide plenty of background to help formulate the vision. As the head of campus ministry at the Quaker college where I work, it is clear to me that we too need a new vision for how divergent religious groups can not just coexist, but actually learn from one another, grow in partnerships, and work towards shared goals and how we help foster in our students this kind of leadership. What does it mean to have a Quaker heritage, while also having a very religiously diverse student body? What does it mean to be a person of faith in these times, especially a person of faith from a nondominant religious tradition?

I read the book with personal and professional interest. Continue reading Moving Into Interfaith Leadership

Rev. Barber: We Will Take Back Our Country, by Moral Means | Diane Ravitch’s blog

Diane Ravitch recently posted excerpts from an article Rev. Dr. William Barber wrote for Think Progress on December 15, 2016. If you do not know who Rev. Barber is, you should find out. He is the president of the NAACP in NC and a pastor of a church in Goldsboro, NC and wrote a book called, “The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear,” which I cannot recommend enough.

I learned about Rev. Barber a number of years ago when he helped build the Moral Monday protests, which were in response to the “extremist makeover of North Carolina’s government,” in other words, what it looks like to “take back America.” And this past spring, I had the good fortune to meet and work with Rev. Barber as we invited him to Guilford College to be our commencement speaker (video of his talk here). That was an incredible experience for me in so many ways. I admire Barber’s political insight as a community organizer and I am inspired by how it flows out of his theological commitments and analysis as a pastor and theologian. Barber is building a “fusion coalition,” rooted in a history of the fusion party in the South, of people across various issues, needs and communities, something he is working to build across the country.

Here is an excerpt of his piece via Ravitch:

When Obama broke through in North Carolina in 2008, we witnessed firsthand the whitelash that America is reeling from right now. Some folks are saying we’ll have to wait and see what a Trump administration decides to do. But we’ve already seen it in North Carolina. The blueprint for what it looks like to “take back America” in the 21st century was laid out in the extremist makeover of North Carolina’s government during the 2013 legislative session. What’s the policy agenda of Make America Great Again? I can tell you because we’ve seen it:

Give tax breaks to corporations and to the wealthy, attack public education, deny people access to health care, attack immigrants, attack the LGBTQ community in the name of “religious liberty,” strip environmental protections, and, finally, make it easier to get a gun than it is to vote….

First, we must recognize the need for indigenously led, state-based, state-government focused, deeply moral, deeply constitutional, anti-racist, anti-poverty, pro-justice, pro-labor, and transformative movement building. There’s no shortcut around this. We must build a movement from the bottom up. We must build relationships at the state level because that’s where most of the extremism of the current-day deconstructionists are happening. They see the possibility of a Third Reconstruction, which is why they’

Source: Rev. Barber: We Will Take Back Our Country, by Moral Means | Diane Ravitch’s blog

 

Mary: Revolutionary for Our Time

The Black Madonna

It is advent, a critical moment in the church calendar.

It is post-election, a critical moment in the life of the United States.

Advent is marked as a time of quiet, expectant waiting. There is hope in birth narratives of Jesus, but it is hope tempered by loss, defeat, and suffering that comes from living under a brutal imperial regime. There is no fanfare in his coming, it is noticed only by poor shepherds and Pagan Stargazers. The priests, pundits, and powerful elite were unaware.

This US election is marked by something vastly different. It unmasked the anger, pain, division, and in many cases, hatred of those ‘others’ operating as scapegoats for the US Empire. Fanfare is on order for the triumphant party, running victory laps, rallying one side over and against another. Whipping people up into a frenzy for a great return. The priest, pundits and powerful elite rejoice. Continue reading Mary: Revolutionary for Our Time

Trello Love In a Tweet

trello-logo-blue

I love trello.com and that’s not news to folks who know me. I use it for personal work and work work and everything in between. So I was happy to get Michael Chapman’s tweet and respond:

Here are my responses in tweets (okay – one tweet increments – does that count?):

There’s no reason to not try trello. It’s free and quick to setup and fun to play around with. They have super handy tutorials and a great getting started guide. While you’re out it, check out the trello inspiration page.